When the format for the second year of the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, NASCAR’s first youth series on iRacing, was announced, it turned plenty of heads. After running the eight-week regular season in Legends cars, the series would switch to the NASCAR Whelen Tour Modified for the playoffs and finale, giving drivers an opportunity to master another car as they chased a $10,000 racing scholarship and test day in a NASCAR Pinty’s Series car.
So far, nobody has done a better job of adapting to the new car than Parker Retzlaff.
Retzlaff, who also competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East on a part-time basis, is now three for three in the playoffs, having taken victories at Richmond Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. He’ll shoot for a clean sweep heading into the championship round tonight, as the series takes on New Hampshire Motor Speedway, one of the most prestigious venues on the real-world Whelen Modified Tour calendar.
Still, more than 40 other drivers are hungry to leave their mark this week, and a few have found ways to stand out recently. Lucas Cram broke Retzlaff’s pole streak at Thompson, and between heats and the 50-lap feature, led more laps than anybody last week with 26. He’s currently tied for second in points with Andy Trupiano, last week’s runner-up. Hunter O. Johnson and Donovan Strauss complete the top five, and all four drivers are within just three points of one another.
But where the battle gets even more interesting is the 30th place points cutoff. That’s the magic number for advancing to the championship race at Martinsville Speedway in two weeks, where whoever takes the victory takes the title, test day, and scholarship. So far, 28 drivers have made it to the 17-car features this season, whether through a podium finish in their heat race or one of the final two spots available in the last chance qualifier. For any of the drivers who haven’t yet made it to the main event, an appearance at NHMS could be the difference between moving on and packing up early.
Don’t miss tonight’s eNASCAR IGNITE Series action from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As is the case throughout the IGNITE playoffs, the racing can be streamed live on the iRacing eSports Network starting at 8PM ET. The series takes a break next week before crowning a champion at Martinsville on September 12.